Standing in the way of Joshna Chinappa’s 19th title is a petite and frail-looking 14-year-old Anahat Singh.
But make no mistake, Anahat is ‘pocket dynamite’ and Joshna knows it. When the 36-year-old takes on the teenager, in the summit clash of the Senior National squash championships here on Saturday, it will be one for the ages.
Joshna breezed past Akansha Salunkhe 11-9, 11-9, 11-8 and Anahat made light work of Tanishka Jain 11-4, 11-7, 11-2 in the women’s semifinals on Friday.
In the men’s final, top-seeded Abhay Singh will take on S. Velavan (5/8 seed). Abhay dispatched old warhorse Sandeep Jangra 11-2, 11-2, 11-4, while Velavan had to be at his best to outwit Harinderpal Singh 5-11, 11-9, 11-4, 11-9.
Players with similar styles, the Velavan-Harinder contest was interesting in parts. Left-handed Velavan turned out to be a tad quicker and played the key points better. Harinder, a former champion, hit an easy backhand drop straight to the ‘Tin’ in the second game at 9-9, and never recovered even as Velavan grew stronger creating wonderful angles and being more aggressive in the next two games.
Anahat said she was looking forward to playing her maiden women’s final. “Playing against Joshna, who is one of the best players in the country, is great and I am excited. I hope to do well as I have been training for the Nationals for a year,” she said.
The results (semifinals):
Men: 1-Abhay Singh (TN) bt 5/8-Sandeep Jangra (SSCB) 11-2, 11-2, 11-4; 5/8-S. Velavan (TN) bt Harinderpal Singh (TN) 5-11, 11-9, 11-4, 11-9.
Women: 1-Joshna Chinappa (TN) bt 5/8-Akansha Salunkhe (Goa) 11-9, 11-9, 11-8; 2-Anahat Singh (Del) bt Tanishka Jain (Mah) 11-4, 11-7, 11-2.